Since my last post on making tahini halvah, I’ve done some further experimentation and have discovered that it is not only the temperature of the syrup that determines hardness of the final candy (ie, the higher the temperature, the harder and more brittle the candy), but the type–or rather density–of tahini effects this nearly as much, if not more so! In the first chocolate tahini recipe, I used a mixture of Cedar halvah (from Isreal) that was kept cold, as well as some in bulk at Earthfare. Both were made from nothing but roasted sesame seeds, and somewhat runny. The Joyva tahini, on the other hand, that I used in the maple halvah recipe that turned out so hard, was much thicker and denser, poured much slower, and had to be scraped from the side of the container (all this in addition to its tasting like peanut butter). I used a mixture of Cedar and Joyva tahinis in my fresh batch last night of chocolate halvah, and stopped the syrup at around 115C/240F, hoping to have a slightly softer halvah, but instead, today, upon cutting it, it is much much harder than the original, that had the syrup hotter, simply because of the tahini I used.
I know some people love and swear by Joyva tahini, but from now on, I’m going to use Cedar’s, because a. its’ cheaper and b. it’s softer and the flavor tastes more like sesame seeds to me.